I will be 27 in a few weeks. I know it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to some, and to others it seems like the best years of my life have passed me by. But there is just one thing that is becoming ever-more clear to me as I get older, experience new things, and raise my children: People never expect you to show your true colors right off the bat. When we, as adults, meet other adults, we tread lightly, carefully, taking pains not to say or share something about ourselves that might scare this potential new addition to our lives away.
I’m not interested in playing that game anymore.
Ideally, my introduction would go like this:
“Hi, my name is Jessica. I believe in reproductive rights, gender equality, better gun control, and freedom from religious persecution. I should also mention that I’m Pagan and feel that our actions here on Earth should speak for themselves, not for a promise of fulfillment in an afterlife. I am pro-birthing education, support public breastfeeding, I teach my kids the proper names for their penises and vaginas, and I let them climb, scream, and make their own mistakes, as kids are wont to do. You should also know that I used to be fiercely opposed to GMOs and biotech in our food and beauty products, and while scientific evidence and reason has prevailed, I still plan on creating a homestead where I will grow my own produce, raise my own chickens, and milk my own goats. Oh, and I am very much into having a healthy, active lifestyle. I prefer Crossfit and running to most other forms of exercise. Can we be friends now?”
I will not hide the parts that make me unique just to be shunned once they come to light.
I will not apologize for my beliefs, nor will I expect anyone I meet to apologize for theirs, just because they aren’t the same.
Why the heck is she going on this defensive rant?! you may find yourself asking (if you weren’t, I’m going to tell you anyway).
Memories, for one. I remember how hard I used to try to fit in, even though there will never be a better mold to fit into than my own. There will never be a color to match me better than the one I radiate. I wish I had known quite some time ago how true it is that attempting to be like anyone or everyone else is just a horrible, painful waste of time.
Recent happenings, for another. As my kids get older I’m meeting more people. As my interests expand, I am encountering others that have similar ideas to mine. But, once the other shades of who I am are introduced to these people, I am cast aside. I don’t have time for people who are only interested in me if my shade matches theirs.
I’ve started thinking of myself along the same lines as the color purple. Made up of blue and red, but with touches of yellows, blacks, and whites to get the various shades. Sometimes, colors like orange and green clash with it, because they’re on opposite sides of the wheel from purple. But, other times, the colors that they share, blue in the greens, and red in the oranges, allow them all to compliment each other very, very nicely.
I will never stop encountering oranges and greens. In truth, I would never want to stop. I will never stop looking for the similarities that make us compliment one another, so that we can enjoy each others’ proximity and what each shade brings to the table of our relationship. But, I will stop expecting others to look past the spaces between us on the wheel to see that we share a base color in common, and I will stop hiding the colors that make up who I am. (And I’ll continue to be fascinated by yellow. Seriously, what planet did it even come from? How can it even exist on THAT side of the wheel?! I must know everything about it!!!)
There are no lines that define when blue becomes purple. Why should we draw those lines between ourselves as people?
What color do you identify with?
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